Robust Detail or Pre-completion Testing for Part E Compliance?

What is better to meet the minimum requirements of Part E Resistance to the Passage of Sound through separating walls and floors, Robust Detail solutions or pre-completion testing?  The Robust Detail solution in theory is good because the systems promoted in their handbook have been rigorously tested to prove the acoustic results are well in excess of the Part E minimum requirements and no on site testing is required to prove compliance.  With Pre-completion testing, every separating floor and wall has to be independently tested to prove compliance or with multiple build projects, a percentage depending on the size of the project.  With Pre-completion testing, if the results show that separating walls or floors do not meet compliance, they have to be upgraded until they do and only then will the project be signed off by the Building Control Dept.  So as you see, whenever a properly tested property is moved into, the soundproofing of the separating floors and walls is going to meet minimum requirements.  So if the wrong materials have been used or not installed correctly, it is going to be picked up before the property is lived in which is not so with Robust Detail constructed properties. 

Although in theory, the Robust Detail system is good, in reality, it is no different to the old Part E regulations pre 2003.  Until then from 1987, new build flats and attached houses along with dwellings being formed as a change of use had to comply with the Part E regulations in force at that time.  And then, all that had to be done was to show the construction was the same or equivalent to that detailed in the Building Regulation document.  No testing of any description was required.  As long as a test certificate showing that the construction method adopted had been previously tested and shown to meet the noise insulation requirements, it was accepted by Building Control and signed off.  In reality though, what often happened is that either the wrong materials had been used because they were cheaper, installed incorrectly, or of course, both.  So when the pre-completion concept of testing was introduced, it was a step in the right direction.  Where it has all gone wrong is introducing the Robust Detail system at the same time and some constructions that have been built using this system, when tested, have spectacularly failed.

For more information on selecting the right materials to meet Part E go to the commercial part of our web site www.soundservice.co.uk

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About Sound Service (Oxford) Ltd

UK Stockists and suppliers of a wide range of soundproofing and acoustic insulation materials for blocking and absorbing noise. We have been specialists in soundproofing and sound absorption since 1969 so one of the longest established businesses in the noise control industry.
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